HIV Prevention Bill Attacked by AIDS Organizations
7 April 1997
-- The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) says
the "HIV Prevention Bill" sponsored by U.S. Rep. Tom
Coburn (R-Okla.) will actually result in an increase in the
spread of HIV and a rise in AIDS mortality.
chief provision in the bill is the creation of a national HIV
reporting system. According to NAPWA, states would be required
to end anonymous testing and begin reporting the names and
case histories of every new HIV diagnosis to the Centers for
Disease Control in Atlanta. 26 states in the country already
supply this information to the CDC.
and other opponents say abolishing confidentiality in HIV
testing will discourage people seeking tests and treatment
which will lead to an inevitable rise in mortality. Supporters
say the bill is designed to protect the uninfected through
early diagnoses and partner notification. The partner
notification requirement (the CDC currently notifies partners
in new AIDS diagnoses), and a new rule imposed on insurers to
reveal HIV test results to applicants, have been strongly
criticized by opponents.
proposal has an iron enforcement mechanism which many groups,
including the National Governor's Association (NGA), say is
indefensible. If a state refuses to comply with all provisions
in the Coburn bill, the state will forfeit federal Medicaid
assistance. For smaller states, like Rhode Island and Vermont
this would mean the loss of $200 - $550 million in federal
payouts. For states like New York, the cost of non-compliance
would run in excess of $12 billion.
C. Barillas, Editor